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Lehman Bros techies chucked onto the pavement yesterday face a decent chance of sliding into new jobs quickly, which may go some way towards sweetening the bitter pill of not receiving a final pay cheque.

The bank – in case you didn’t know – crashed spectacularly in the early hours of Monday. Staff turned unsecured creditors were left scrambling to use up their canteen credit cards and grab cases of vintage wine from its Canary Wharf offices as TV crews scrambled to get footage of newly unemployed bankers drowning their sorrows.

As the hangovers kick in this morning though, the latest casualties of capitalism will be getting their heads round the fact that there is no money in the kitty to pay them the current month’s wages. According to reports, the bank swept all its cash back to the US every night, before doling out whatever the international subsidiaries needed back first thing. Someone neglected to do this before Monday morning’s bust, meaning the administrators have nothing with which to meet $75m in salaries due this week.

This will, presumably, leave ex-staffers even more focused on finding another gig – at least those who were not on the absurdly stratospheric salaries that tend to undermine public sympathy for unhorsed masters of the universe.

Dominic Connor, director of City tech recruitment agency P&D Quantitative Recruitment, said the bust was squarely down to the credit bust, and even then: “No-one blames the techies in credit.”

He added that Lehman’s staff seemed “brighter than the average” and that “teams and business units will leave LB if not intact, then as a coherent group, some sold, some headhunted, some will set up on their own.”

With Barclays, amongst others, negotiating to buy chunks of the business today, some may barely skip a beat.

Headhunters were reported to have set up stall outside the beleaguered bank's London HQ yesterday, and are madly spamming their contacts lists as they try to collar the most desirable staff.

The only ones who might face a problem, Connor predicted, would be those who have become overspecialised. They will have to re-skill fast if they want to avoid structural unemployment he predicted. (Hint - think C++ or Haskell)

In the meantime, it seems some ex-Lehman’s staff are reinventing themselves as traders of a different kind. Inevitably, eBay is already awash in souvenirs of the late lamented bank, as this link shows.

A raft of corporate t-shirts are available, but more intriguing are the firm’s operating principals (sic), here, currently attracting $36 worth of interest, while the emergency evacuation kit, containing logo’d facemask and torch amongst other goodies, is generating interest in the region of $56. Which is more than you can expect if you’re a Lehmans bond holder today. ®

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